Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn delivered his New Year’s message in which he said the realization of national solidarity and integration are the missions of the times.
“The will of the people will be respected in a humble fashion, and (the government) will do its utmost to stabilize the administration of state affairs by considering the future of Korea, he said. Hwang wants preparations to be made for the future through the fostering of new industries, the development of science technology, and creativity and innovation in all walks of society.
“Our society will bring up hope and spread hope, and we’ll redouble efforts to expand jobs and support start-ups so that our youth can realize their dreams to the fullest possible extent,” he said.
Acting President Hwang paid his tributes at the Seoul National Cemetery on Jan. 2 as his first official duty of 2017. Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoo Il-ho, other cabinet ministers, Presidential Chief of Staff Han Kwang-ok and other presidential aides joined Hwang.
Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoo Il-ho.
Policy Priority on Economy And Risk Management
While speaking at a ceremony to kick off the 2017 business year at the Government Complex Building in Sejong on Jan. 2, Deputy Prime Minister Yoo opined that the Korean economy is faced with a severe crisis.
Looking back at last year, Yoo said the nation had unexpected external and internal changes, including a crisis stemming from North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in the begging of the year, financial worries triggered by China, Brexit, the U.S. presidential election, and the latest political unrest.
“In 2017, the external and internal conditions are not favorable for smooth sailing of the Korean economy,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Yoo cited such expanded external uncertainties as interest rate hikes and policy changes of the new U.S. administration, worries of emerging economies and internal uncertainties, including ongoing structural changes like corporate restructuring and a declining working-age population.
The government will devote itself to making this a year in which people can restore their self-confidence with hope by attaching policy priority on economy and risk management, stabilization of public livelihood, structural reform and preparing for the future, he said. First, Deputy Prime Minister Yoo stressed the recovery of consumer and investment sentiments to reinvigorate the national economy and the solidifying of a safety net to brace for external uncertainties and external risks. The government will also strive to implement policies on creating jobs for youth and the stabilization of public livelihoods for poor self-employed businessmen and low-income earners, as well as reforms and responses to cope with a low birth rate and aging population.
Minister Joo Hyung-hwan of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE)
MOTIE Aims for Annual Exports of $500 billion
Minister Joo Hyung-hwan of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) delivered his New Year’s speech in which the ministry plans to maintain export growth momentum with the goal of increasing annual exports to $500 billion. Minister Joo said the ministry will dramatically reinvent the export industry in terms of entity, item, market and method this year to put exports back on track.
Second, recognizing this as a year ridden with many trade issues, Joo said the MOTIE will proactively address such trade issues as the expansion of protectionist measures. The government will explain to the U.S. administration reciprocity of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement while tackling China’s non-tariff barriers through bilateral and multi-lateral channels, he said.
Third, Minister Joo said the government will spearhead the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the upgrading of mainstay industries and the creation of new industries. The ministry will push ahead with the easing of regulations, intensifying of support, building of convergence platforms and creation of markets with a focus on 12 new industries, including EV, self-driving automobiles, IoT, AR, VR and new energy industries. The ministry also plans to aggressively support corporate restructuring through the act on reinvigorating corporate dynamics and R&D support.
Lastly, he said the ministry will strive to nurture the new energy industries into export industries while endeavoring to build a stable energy system. “This year marks a historic year in which the nuclear power plant being built in the United Arab Emirates, the first winning export project, is dedicated,” said Minister Joo, adding that the ministry will make sure the timely dedication of nuclear power plants, which will likely lay a groundwork for exporting nuclear technology.
Minister Kang Ho-in of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
MOLIT to Tackle Housing Oversupply, Sluggish Overseas Construction Orders
In his New Year’s message, Minister Kang Ho-in of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) said the ministry will take preemptive measures to cope with the possible hard landing of the construction industry, caused by housing oversupply and the sagging overseas construction industry.
In the ceremony at the Sejong Government Complex on Jan. 2, Minister Kang said, “We have to perform our duties with a sense of extraordinary determination and in a humble manner as the nation has hard times.” Kang stressed the need to prepare for a leap forward amid the slowing of the nation’s economic growth and rising uncertainties caused by U.S. interest rate hikes and the North Korea factor.
The MOLIT will beef up the monitoring of the housing market and build a regime to stabilize the market by working out responses according to various scenarios.
Minister Kang emphasized the securing of a competitive edge through the innovating of such conventional industries as construction and logistics, and transforming them into value-added ones as well as the creation of new growth engines through the convergence of advanced technologies like smart construction and transport big data.
He called for the establishment of an emergency contingency response system, citing a public survey conducted last year that cited safety as the foremost value.
Seamless Preparation of Hosting of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics
In a ceremony to launch the 2017 business year, Minister Cho Yoon-sun of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said she felt the heavy pain and responsibility as the MCST minister for the ministry, which is at the center of a variety of allegations.
Minister Cho set the 2017 tasks: the MCST’s restoring of its public trust and the seamless preparation of the hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
“First of all, public trust in the MCST’s policies needs to be restored this year, and a policy-decision process will have to be opened and institutional in a transparent fashion,” she said.
Cho called for seamless preparations for the successful hosting of the PyeongChang Olympic Games and for all departments and organizations to spare no efforts in making the Games an opportunity to take the nation a step higher.
Minister Choi Yang-hee of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
MSIP to Advance R&D Environment, Secure Future Growth Engines, Nurture Bio, New Climate Industries
Marking the 50th year since the founding of the ministry of science and technology, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) is stepping up efforts to advance the R&D ecosystem to brace for the advent of the fourth Industrial Revolution and secure future growth engines.
The MSIP will continue to implement policies to innovate R&D with a shift toward a researcher-oriented environment while endeavoring to develop future growth engines technologies such as bio, climate, aerospace, and nuclear power to overcome crises shortfalls conventional mainstay industries.
In his New Year’s message, MSIP Minister Choi Yang-hee said, “The ministry will make sure such R&D innovation policies as the revamping of evaluation systems, the easing of researchers’ burden on administrative affairs will be settled down as soon as possible while ramping up investment efficiency and strategies, corresponding to an era of increasing the government’s R&D outlays to 20 trillion won.”
The ministry plans to reinvigorate start-ups based on public technology infrastructure through the nurturing of R&D-based, start-up-oriented universities and research companies, while strengthening technology commercialization through collaboration among industry, academia and research circles.
The MSIP will nurture the bio industry through the development of new drug agents, and the expansion of investments into new-concept, medical equipment while launching efforts to nurture new climate industries, Minister Choi said.
He said his ministry will lay the groundwork for Korea to become an aerospace and nuclear powerhouse by securing core technologies in those fields and developing future nuclear systems.